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Horror rpgs: what's the appeal?

Discussion in 'The Gazebo' started by Silva, Jan 6, 2021.

  1. Silva Arcane

    Silva
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    I find it seriously difficult to understand the appeal of horror (tabletop) RPGs. The experience always flying too close to railroading at best, and "watching hours of cutscenes described by the GM" at worst to me.

    I'm reading the newest edition of Delta Green right now and I'm amazed how awesome the setting is, and at the same time how poor a game it is. It's basically the GM "monster of the week" where the players are given a mission to investigate and get maimed, killed or insane in the end. There's little actual game in here, specially so because the monsters are usually immune to normal weapons, and so the players must engage in heavy pixel hunt until they do what the GM planned they do to finish the scenario. No tactical or strategical layers or anything. No conspiracy spycraft networks to unravle or base building resources and upgrades to play with. Nothing. Just get feeder the mission of the week and do It by poking stuff until you attend the condition the GM had planned to solve the mystery. It sounds so... passive and boring.

    I mean, I'm all for the experience of getting scared. I love friends who can tell horror stories around a bonfire, I totally do. But those take 10 min long, and not the 3 to 4 hours that a rpg session usually takes.

    Anyone else feels this too? For those who like horror, how can you like such a boring shit? Do you like Kojima cutscenes too?
     
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  2. Dayyālu Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Paging Matalarata because he does a great job on the subject

    Disclaimer: I suck at horror RPGs. My last attempt was entirely a mess with my players managing swimmingly to become "bash the door murder the mistery". That said your points are mostly wrong:

    + There's no pixel hunt. There's not being a dumbass and checking all the pieces. Delta Green is even less obtuse than usual, with the fact that it's built to be far more combat-heavy than stock CoC. It's very difficult to place players in the mindset to simply retreat, tho.

    + Horror RPGs need far heavier strategical layers. You are contradicting yourself: if a game is a "pixel hunt" were the players need to carefully check the setting and the resources/NPCs not to get murderfucked, the players need a far more careful and proper approach than "I buy healing potions".Having contacts or, ehrrm, failing to may have heavy consequences.

    + It's heavily DM dependant. The only CoC session I ever managed to scare my players was a heavily modified The Haunting in CoC: Dark Ages, but I'm a mediocre narrator. You need someone good with words and athmosphere building, and a team willing to get into the thing.

    + What's with "monster of the week"? Every RPG is a monster of the week if we want to oversimplify things. Chapter 1 Kill the Tiefling Chapter 2 Kill the Naga Chapter 3 Kill the Giant etc.
     
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  3. Harry Easter Savant

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    Yeah, it basically is Monster of the Week. I think people love Horror RPG's more for the build up and maybe the investigation. It's all about the atmosphere and the feeling of not knowing what will happen. Most games fall apart after the reveal of the secret, Eternal Darkness being one of the few exceptions that come to my mind.
     
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  4. Silva Arcane

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    Most supernatural creatures are immune or heavy resistant to bullets both in CoC and Delta Green. Thus, forcing the players to find their weakness (= pixel hunting for the info as planned by the GM). There's even a recurrent joke in the DG community that says something like "just give every gun your players ask, those will be useless against the monsters anyway!".

    Strategical layers where?!? Strategic and tactics imply different courses of action: go in guns blazing, physical infiltration, social infiltration, calling in resources, etc. Heist games like Leverage, Shadowrun and Blades in the Dark are full of those. You got a blueprint of the place and you got a myriad approaches to choose from with varying degrees of efficacy.

    But in horror games like CoC or Delta Green those options are radically diminished since horror = powerless protagonists, and so the players are left with poking (=investigating) to try and find the creature of the week's vulnerability, or the puzzle of the week's solution, which not rarely is a singular bizarre illogical shit in the head of the GM like those nonsensic Sierra point&click hardcore puzzles.

    More than that: it's heavily GM-driven. Thats my main problem with it. It's a style of play that asks the players to take the passenger sit too much in lieu of the GM exposing his amazing plot of the month that he stayed late night writing to try and make the players open-mouthed and peting his back praising "how awesome a GM you are!". I can't stand this shit. It reminds me too much of those horrendous cutscenes that plague Kojima games. (and the reason I dread restarting Phantom Pain even if I love that fucking game :negative:)
     
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  5. Silva Arcane

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    Yeah, I guess you're right, the key is atmosphere and a feeling of unsecurity. I prefer when those are coupled with more "player-agency enabling" playstyles, though, like the heist games cited above, or suspenseful dungeons explorations, etc. I remember some Shadowrun games from my youth where the GM put some bizarre bug-things for us to face that made us kinda aprehensive. It was a nice experience, but the Shadowrun premise meant we were equiped to deal with it as we wanted (even if the bugs were harder to crack than the normal goons). But playing pure horror games, to hear the GM pet story like a fucking cutscene or quick-time event? Nah I don't get it.
     
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  6. Dayyālu Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Why you are so hellbent on the monsters of the week format? Most "horror" games don't particularly focus on fighting TEH MONSTER if not as a final result, and high lethality is to be expected not to reduce the problem to a "bash door, kill monster" routine. The meat of a horror game is investigation and infiltration, mostly social and stealth activities requiring strategical planning.

    Cults, lesser servants, trash mobs can be properly used as opponents or as introductions.

    Also, "illogical thing"? Let's take the last one shot I run as a CoC introduction session for new players that were interested in the system: The Lightless Beacon for CoC. The opponents there are trashier versions of deep ones called young-lings: finding their reasons to be there and how the players fight them in the climax are completely dependent on the players' actions - if they find extra items, if they repair stuff, if they investigate properly. It's the job of a good DM to build a not-punishing system that rewards good play, and CoC is quite flexible with improvisation. I didn't "lol killed my players because they didn't check for the wounds on the dead younglings", it would merely give them a improved way to wound them. C&C, basics of any good RPGs.

    More traditional games (dungeon fights like DnD) often require the players to approach on the fly fights, heavily diminishing both strategical and tactical layers. Not saying that players won't plan fights, but in my experience as a DM CoC forces the players to plan far more than DnD instead of going in and adapting when the fight is already started.

    Why are you playing a game that requires a narrator to be good to build atmosphere then? You're complaining about railroading: I've never seen horror games needing more railroading than usual RPGs. It's all DM dependent, horror games simply require a more skilled DM because they need to keep a tone than usual fantasy crawlers don't.

    If your critique is "Horror games force railroading because there's ONLY ONE WAY to defeat the monster AND the DM forces me to follow the PRECISE steps or kills me", I'm quite puzzled. Railroading is usually not a system problem, but a DM problem.

    Again, OSR and the like can completely be played as horror RPGs , often having rules for sanity and corruption. Are we now saying that , I dunnow, Shadow of the Demon Lord - that's intrinsecally lethal and not built for dungeon delving - is a "railroady system"? FFG's Warhammer RPGs are often far more railroady than any CoC game I've ever run (fault of poorly written pregens, sadly).

    ... get better DMs, is all I can say?
     
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  7. Silva Arcane

    Silva
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    It's irrelevant if it's a monster of the week or a pure investigation gameplay, the point is that it is the tabletop analogue of a point & click SIERRA adventure where you go clicking around until you hit the exact spot the GM expects you to do... then he lectures you some exposition about that shit and now you have the mcguffin/knowledge/whatever to kill/banish the monster. Because otherwise it's almost impossible to kill a SHOGGOTH with bullets or explosives.

    Contrast that to, say, Blades in the Dark, where you manage your crew strategically in a city map, chooses what job to take, choose an tactical approach to the mission, and then execture it in a myriad possible ways.

    :hmmm:

    Bro, everything I'm describing here is how the fucking BOOK of Delta Green says. I was expecting some spycraft intrigue like Night's Black Agents or base building like X-com or Conspiracy-X, but nope, it's "GM brings his canned adventure to the feed the players... night after night after night.".

    ...get a fucking reading comprehension, is all I can say?
     
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  8. Dayyālu Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Why should you even kill a Shoggoth? Is the DM forcing you to? Is your DM forcing you to die before a Shoggoth because you didn't find the item three levels in? We aren't talking vydia here. TT is a different media entirely. Railroading is a DM problem.

    Can't comment on Blades in the Dark, never played it. I see it's from 2015, the design must be sure be even more flexible than CoC, that's a bunch of oldass rules tbh. Heard the GUMSHOE system is fairly good, but again, never played it.

    Then understand what you are writing.

    "All horror tabletop RPGs - from CoC to SoTL to White Wolf to fucking Nechronica apparently - are shallow experiences dependent on DM railroading" isn't equivalent to "fucking Delta Green, a MODERN TIME and COMBAT FOCUSED focused version of CoC, doesn't sound too appealing to me, and apparently I didn't even play it but just skimmed the rules".
     
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  9. Silva Arcane

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    Dayyālu you faggot, don't bring Shadow of the Demon Lord and other shit to the discussion. Those are adventure games with horror/apocalyptic trappings. I'm talking about pure horror shit like CoC and Delta Green, which use mysteries investigations as their usual adventure format. And that's my whole problem with it. Mysteries are basically a clues /breadcrumb trail the GM spreads over pre-set scenes that players must point & click find. Lots of perceptions tests ensue until PCs find whatever the GM wants and then they move on to the next scene. Rinse and repeat. This is so disempowering I wanna puke. Oh sure, there is problem solving involved, but it doesn't compare in the least to more full blown heists games or even normal adventure games that uses more open-ended or sandbox structures that give total freedom for the players to approach whatever and however they prefer in emergent fashion - through violence, infiltration, subterfuge, diplomacy, etc, etc, etc. or even ignoring the adventure altogether and going wherever they want next. Those allow more PLAYER-DRIVEN adventures, in contrast to horror which is 99% of the time GM-DRIVEN shit. It's like comparing the openess of FALLOUT 2 to the restrictiveness of a SIERRA game (and a pretty bad one, like LEISURE SUIT LARRY 5 or something).

    Also, remember what defines horror is the disempowerment of players toward the threats. So, if you say Delta Green allows for agents to go gun-totting against Cthulhu, it's a fucking lie otherwise it wouldn't be labeled an horror game but an action thriller (I wish that was the case, but I digress).
     
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  10. Silva Arcane

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    By the way, I think horror games can flirt with more open-ended or player-driven experiences. The new Kult: Divinity Lost is a good example, I think, as it forces the GM to prep adventures around the PCs "Dark Secrets", thus meshing the campaign with PC's personal goals and dilemmas, and avoiding the "monsters of the week" format. Other than that, Night's Black Agents offer a sandbox-like conspiracy for players to unravel, and Conspiracy-X offers a strategic element in the form of base building and resources pooling that's very interesting, but then it's arguable if these two games are pure horror. I would say they are more spy-action-thrillers with horror trappings.
     
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  11. Higher Game Arcane

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    Dungeon crawlers and roguelikes can have plenty of horror on top of plenty of good taste, strategy, resource management, etc. The problem of pure horror RPG's is that everyone who knows better knows this, and the demographic that horror RPG's appeal to is more of the edgy aesthetic type, like Tim Burton films. This screws up the signal to noise ratio and leaves behind a lack of direction.
     
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  12. Matalarata Arcane Patron

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    The discussion got a bit heated I see, but since Dayy pinged me yesterday (was drunk) I'll chime in for my 2c.


    Silva your concept of an "horror" game is seriously limited buddy, I cannot properly vouch for the last edition of Delta Green, but methinks you're confusing a couple example scenarios written in the core game as all there is to it. First of all, let me make a distinction here. You started a thread about "horror" in gaming but what you're discussing here is "terror" in games. Horror is nothing more than an evocative and fear-inducing image, it's more about being apt at descriptions and you can definitely use it in any kind of pnp system.
    Eg take a Troll in Pathfinder (CR 5), apply some demetrial customization package on him ("starving" is perfect for this), then when you have the chance to play the encounter, instead of telling your player "with a bone chilling roar a green humanoid, 7 feet tall, charges from the wood", have them find a lonley cabin with clear sign of devastation on their route, go in detail about the smell of blood and bowels mixed to cinders and a curious mulching sound they can hear as they approach. As they turn the corner and enter what you know is just a combat with a sub-par troll, you hit them with the full gore-y description of the troll consuming the previoius occupants. At this point the Troll stands up and proceeds in beating the living shit out of your low level PCs using one of the previous victims body as a maul.

    Let's dissect this a bit. First of all, you want to be fast while describing all that. Less words more details is better when it comes to horror imho. Second, what did I just do? I took a CR 5 encounter, gave him some penalties (CR--->4) then gave him a sub-par weapon (Fleshy meatclub -1 bab -2 Dam, CR--->3). I basically nerfedi it into a level 2-3 encounter. Do the players know that? Nope. Will they shit their pants mechanically speaking when you hit them with what they think is a CR 5 encounter at level 2? Yes, probably. Some will also whine and call you a bad GM for not using Challenge Rating properly but why should you care? You know you did your homework when designing the encounter and, in the end, all will be fun and games.
    So what I did was simply take a couple of details from this particular enemy (starving, armed with a sub-par weapon) and turned those into gory detail thay I hope will scare the player into doing something stupid. Not that you need to scare players into that, usually...

    I hope the example suffices at explaining how "horror" is just a trapping you can add on any scene or detail of your adventure and/or campaigns. Even proper sword and sorcery epics can have great horror moment, if the GM wishes and he manages to pull it off.


    Now, let's talk about the topic you have been really discussing all along, Terror. While horror is an image and usually a very specific one you try to convey, terror is the unknown, it's your mind filling in the blanks and a serie of specific tropes and ancestral fears you try to awake inside your audience. Horror is an image you give them while terror has been inside them all along, you just help it surface for a while. Horror is a bloody hand suddenly reaching for you from a stained curtain, terror is the weird sound you hear during exploration, a strange smell that becomes stronger as you approach or the sudden realization that something you have been inspecting hasn't been built for human proportion and anathomy. While horror is a trope you can use to spice up any kind of story, terror relies on mistery and partial knoweledge, as I said, the mind filling in the blanks is an important part of it all. This means you need to plan for it beforehand and tha you can't half-ass it. I mean, you can stumble forward in many kind of adventures if you make a mistake and the players find a plot hole or a clever way to bypass most of your adventure, not so easy with a mistery game, for those your preparation need to be top notch.


    I feel many of your statements come from a lack of understanding, Silva. First of all let's discuss this:

    This is blatantly false. Even in base Coc, the deadliest of the three system I will consider (CoC, Pulp Cthulhu and Delta Green), I'd say of all the supernatural creatures published, about 10-15% are immune or heavily resistant to conventional firearms. Sure, you have your Dark Youngs, Starspawns and Shoggoths and those clearly stand out as "impossible" fights but so is trying to fight a Dragon in D&D when you're underlevelled (it also requires rare magic weapons to be hit in the first place, notice a pattern?). The majority of the statted monsters are your much more manageable ghouls, mi-go, Serpent People, Zombies. You have medium-sized threats like Gnoph-keh or formless spawn that take a whole group focusing fire on them or "unconventional" monsters like Cthonians which can't be killed by mundane weapons, true, but can be incapacitated or harmed via mundane means (drop a crane on it as it surfaces, the adventure relies upon the players setting up a plan for that "one hit wonder" of an attack, very fun, I used this multiple times and in different situations/games).

    Pulp Cthulhu and base CoC also give you magic, bretty powerful if used correctly. One of my favourites to give players options in base CoC is exactly to provide both mundane (if rare) and magical means of defeating a strong foe during an adventure and then have the players live with the consequences in both cases (but this is a CoC thing, not necessarily true about all horror games or any and each CoC adventure). In addition to that, Pulp Cthulhu gives you Luck-based powers, Pulp Talents and Mad Talents to go above and beyond and perform feats no Lovecraftian protagonist ever dreamed about!!1! Lots of player choices and mechanics there, many ways to harm the baddies, although if you just want to go in guns blazing, there are better systems for that (Shadowrun can be used for very effective lovecraftian bulletstorms settings and GURPS is alway gud, if you take the time to learn the system).
    As for Delta Green in specific, that relies on a weird mix of real life gun-porn and sci-fi. No, you're not supposed to pixel hunt, although you're right in that you're at the mercy of your GM, you always are when playing pnp. Playing with a bad GM is akin to playing with a board games missing key pieces or a very, very buggy cRPG. As I said before, guns are gud against 90%+ of your normal encounters. For very specific monsters, afaik you're supposed to rely on mcguffins that (and this is a very important detail) mechanically behave like guns in-game. To give you a practical example, a base CoC adventure could end with your chars desperately trying to reach the summit of a mountain to read a tattered scroll and stop the summononing of Ithaqua while deranged cultists rain from all directions, whike in Delta Green you're supposed to arm two players, one with a special "crystalization spray" (flamethower) and another with an high-tech laser rifle (sniper rifle) to freeze a shoggot in place and cut it to pieces while other specialists in your group do "their" things (fire at lesser threats, place explosives to shred the place, crack the computer the Shoggoth is guarding etc).

    I'd love to write more but life is a bitch and I have job(s) to do.
     
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  13. Dayyālu Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Then specify what the fuck are you writing and that your grief is with CoC and that everything that doesn't fit your specific vision isn't "Horror" but "adventure games with horror trappings". Title the thread with "I have problems with the CoC system and derivatives" and don't complain when people skewer your opinions because they're badly expressed.

    It's not even a particularly good critique: for example, one of the things that irks me is that in CoC&derivatives, despite being heavily focused on "investigation", social mechanics are almost less developed than pure combat. I guess it's a heritage of their age.

    Why do you keep comparing vydia with TT? Apples and oranges.

    Your vision of horror is limited. Horror is ambience and theme, not "lol you die in one hit scared now". High lethality doesn't necessarily means horror.
     
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  14. Matalarata Arcane Patron

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    I know the question is directed towards the OP but I feel I need to comment on this. You're being too harsh, my friend. Horror pnp = CoC is such an easy misconception and one I've encountered so many times, Silva is not the first nor the last to make such an assumption. Let's try and convince him otherwise, since we both know horror and terror can be done properly, in game. If any, I feel that there are much worse culprit of what he's describing. For example, take old school WoD Vampire: the Masquerade. I argue it is far worse, from the pixel hunt perspective because, on top of being an "Horror" game (see the distinction between horror and terror above), everyone is out there to screw you and the Storyteller is actively given both tools and purpose to screw you up royally. Many CoC baddies are written with glaring weak spots, can be stopped before they arrive or can be defeated with a proper show of force (freidnly reminder that ramming it with a ship was all it took to stop motherfrigging Cthulhu in the titular CoC novel). Vampires? Once you are beyond the muwahahaha I'm a newly embraced Vampirea and I can tear to shred puny mortals aka honeymoon phase, you realize that:

    a) Each other supernatural creature in the WoD can beat your ass with little to nothing you can do about it. Werewolves are unbeatable in straighforward combat, Wraiths can harm you and fuck with you without you being able to answer, Mummies can fuck you up just by learning your name, Mages can fuck you up just by knowing you exist. Changelings are there, for some strange reason and guess what? Even the meme of the Auld WoD community can fuck a PC Vampire up with little or no consequences.

    b) Your Elders, quest givers, Mentors... Everyone wants a piece of you and is just a pice of a bigger game. At the top of the Pyramid? Some motherfucker with Dominate 8-9, or uber-Presence or mebbe a full fledged Tremere thaumaturge. Know what they all have in common? Somewhere between level 7-10 of their Clan Discipline there is some variant of "anyone subject to this power is fucked/has to do what you say/ded".

    Vampire is basically a constant struggle to take from those beneath you (mainly mortals) to give to those above, with little or no understanding of what's going on, at least initially. Then you pull the strings for a sudden "woah" moment in which the Players realize how what they have done untill now was just interacting with the other pieces of this particular Elder Motherfucker board, find the Mcguffin allowing you a chance at resisting his or her powers and finish it all with a loud bang. Still fun, but leaps and bounds closer to a pixel hunt than CoC for example.



    I'd argue the exact opposite. CoC is one of the best system for social interactions, let me elaborate. Dice based systems to deal with social interactions suck stinky donkey balls imho. I still have to be sold on an actual aleatory mechanic to properly simulate what's going on when a PC and an NPC discuss delicate details. From this point of view, the basic friendly-neutral-hostile result of the single reaction roll you get from D&D derivates works better than anything else I've been presented with, really. Remember that in CoC you can initiate action by declaring a skill use and a desired result, this means you can use other skills and player creativity to approach social situations.
    I will repeat an example I gave to you an the others, when we were learning CoC, mebbe you froget... Suppose you have some delicate matter to discuss with the head director of a famous library. Sure, some options can jump to your attention by looking at your character sheet, eg using charm, intimidate or fast talk to bypass security, maybe rely on your Financial Value to impress the bystanders. But what about rolling Library use to expose some glaring issues with the Library cataloguing system? Or a [Dead Language] roll to impress said director about your knoweledge of the topic you want to discuss with him? I feel this system encourages player creativity in social interactions much more and can be seamlessly integrated, switching between action/exploration/social as the player feel it's the moment to do so. Point is, CoC wants you to think about the approach to a situation first, leveraging on your group strength and then gives you multiple options to roll different skills, in order to obtain the same result. You know that, sometimes, the chosen approach just... fails...



    True dat. What you need mechanically (and where vidjia comes into play as a gud example imho) is dwindling resources. Man is a machine inclined towards math and logic, even retards, they just confine themselves to single-digit math. Nerds naturally love counting, especially if it isn't hard to do so in-game (eg 51:3 is gud, 21.73 * 33.91 isn't, not all math is created equal). Give them numbers, give meaning to those numbers and have those numbers go down, except in a few precious moments of respite. Voilà, perfect mechanics for Terror-themed campaigns.
     
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  15. Silva Arcane

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    No time now but I'll address your points later, Matalarata .
     
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  16. Dayyālu Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    I'll always dream for a working, efficient and elegant system to simulate social combat and clue gathering! But maybe it's a pipe dream because "impossible to roll-play elegantly dialogue".

    I have to admit there isn't a better system, or at least a better system as far as I know. But I have this peculiar feel that the basic building CoC is a bit, just a bit schizophrenic and aged for being a "perfect" investigation game, kept back by its origins as the BRP system: I would be curious to see if Trail of Cthulhu managed to improve its basics (as Robin Laws himself claims). No time to play it now for sure, tho.

    As for everything else, what can I say. You know this shit far better than me :D
     
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  17. Silva Arcane

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    You're right that I'm comflating horror and terror here, thanks for pointing it out. But I'm only doing that because most people already call CoC and Delta Green and such "Horror" games, and not Terror.

    Anyway, my problem is not with the concept, but Terrror is gamified in tabletop RPGs, which is through an adventure format we call a mystery. Which you explain very well here:

    Yep, this.

    But see, this highly structuring of the adventure, as to provoke a sense of terror, is precisely the thing that makes it more linear and limiting in terms of player-agency. In your own words, "you can't let the players fuck up your carefully written plot and bypass the it to the very end". Where in an open-ended sandbox playstyle, "bypassing the adventure to the end" is fair game (Just like in Fallout 1). So we are talking about 2 distinct playstyles here, one more linear GM-driven, another more open and player-driven. I like the later, and dislike the former. Both are valid styles of play, of course.

    Your descritption of Delta Green seems spot on, but this last bit suggests that may not know be acquainted with all forms of tabletop RPGs out there. Gm-driven games are not everything that exists and in fact there are GMless games and games where the power to create or influence the gamestate is shared more equally between GM and players. I suggest you take a look at those.

    And this basically confirms my suspicion. What are you, some cavemen from the 80s? :lol: A ton of games gamify social interaction in simple and effective ways. I'm coming from a Monsterhearts game that was all about social interactions. There are more though: Fate, Cortex, Burning Wheel, etc. Google it and you'll find a ton of discussion on them.
     
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  18. Silva Arcane

    Silva
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    I agree. I came accross a Gumshoe game that does it reasonably well. I think it's Bubblegumshoe, but I'm not sure. I'll post it here if I find it. Also, I've heard Mythras (a BRP derivative) has a dedicated social conflict rules somewhere too. Don't know if it's good, though.

    Not in the case of adventures format. Linear vs open-eneded is a property present in both tabletop and videogames stories/adventures.

    :hmmm:

    Have you read Delta Green? Because what I'm talking here is exactly what I read from the Handlers' Book. This whole thread is my reaction to that. Yes ambience is an important part, but frailty of the protagonist towards the unnatural threats are another. The book advice on anomalous devices is particularly relevant: I was anxious to get to it while reading, because one of the neatest things in these games for me is the players making use of the unnatural in creative ways (see Unknown Armies or KULT). You know what the book advices? "These are rare, given by the GM in very specific scenarios he finds apropriate, and can never harm or hinder the unnatural forces, only DETECT it." :lol: That's it. If that's not fucking disempowering to the player characters, I don't know what it is (and that's just a sample, there a lot of advice like that in the book).
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2021
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  19. Dayyālu Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Dayyālu
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    Robin Laws (the guy behind GUMSHOE an' shit) is very vocal about his ideas about the limits of CoC&derivatievs. I like a lot how Robin writes stuff (The Exoterrorists has some top-tier ideas to salvage) but I never had the chance to play them and judge the mechanics.

    Hm. This thread is mostly you complaining that CoC&derivatives are old and that they don't gamify some elements in ways you like. I've skimmed Blades in the Dark and now I kinda get where you're coming from, we're essentially talking on completely different levels of game design, as you evidently favour design elements that come out of The Forge school of thought.

    You expressed yourself extremely poorly in the OP and sounded like a complete attack on a genre on extremely shaky grounds. Not everyone likes Forge principles though, I've never found a social interaction system that I found elegant and efficient. Attempts, many.

    You're essentially expecting RPGs built on completely different design philosophies (and in most cases extremely old design philosophies) to compare positively to games that come from a design school built to be different from them. You should have opened the OP by referring specifically how you find that CoC and "old" BRS games compare negatively in your opinion to stuff coming out in the last decade, and why.
     
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  20. Silva Arcane

    Silva
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    Couldn't we mesh them all? Why get restrained to only "modern" or only "old" thought? Delta Green adopted Gumshoe "main clues" concept and not asking player rolls for finding them, and also a downtime game with to reflect social and mental degradation. Those are examples of modern stuff being adopted by old games, right? Also, look how the OSR is blooming with crazy new concepts and directions.

    But I digress. My point is that I find that mystery playstyle boring. And everyone who play it a retardo. :lol:
     
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  21. Dayyālu Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Dayyālu
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    [​IMG]

    I guess we'll agree to disagree :lol:
     
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  22. Silva Arcane

    Silva
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    By the way, I'm not too versed in Forge stuff, but I played a bunch of games from them, or derivative of their ideas (see the Monsterhearts above). And man, friendly advice: don't discard creations because the creators are retardo. For all the Ron Edwards lunacy, he spawned some good ideas that are fun to engage at the table.

    I say the same to D&D and older games. I once hated D&D. Until a friend convinced me to try a couple games of it, and nowadays I love all flavors of it (OSR and the newest edition included). I'm just out of Lamentations of the Flame Princess campaign and stating a 5e Planescape one, and it's been super fun.

    I hope I can break through this displeasure for mystery games. I'm giving it a honest try (just ended a Cthulhu Dark game and warming up for Delta Green).
     
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  23. Matalarata Arcane Patron

    Matalarata
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    Errr... No... where did I say anything about "linear"? Dafuq? First and foremost a GM must give players options and freedom. Preparation doesn't mean having a linear serie of scene to present your player, I'm frankly curious of which kind of Masters you have all this "experience" you talk about with. 'Coz if that's what your brain default to when I talk complex work on the GM side, sorry to break it to you, but you played with faulty boards untill now. I regularly play with people on this site, I won't ping them 'coz it's cringey but I'm pretty sure they would confirm that my style is the exact opposite of what you "think" a properly managed game is.

    Dude. I've been gaming, GMing and boardgaming since the early '90 and never stopped. I did it all. Mind-eye, GM-less... Those are all variants. If you think any kind of GMless system can offer you a better plot than a true GM, Keeper or Storyteller. I dunno what to say.... Lol? Those games are fun, but they cover a very specific niche.
    Not taking them in consideration when discussing pnp in general, especially if in the OT you ask about "mechanics" in a particular setting, is a perfectly valid stance. If you want to discuss RPG variants in general, be my guest and change the topic! I never encountered an unconventional system allowing for the same depth, structure and even freedom of a well managed, GM driven group. From my personal experience, in those cases you're subject to the weakest narrative link (player) in the group, scenes can be loads of fun, untill they aren't 'coz someone brought the game where you don't want to.

    Yes, and proud of remembering an era when pnp was considered a "talking" game and, as such, the idea of having to roll dices in order to "say" specific things appeared alien to us. Frankly speaking, I prefer to roll my dices for combat and general interaction. I've played social oriented games, Fate more than once but also variants on old WW games or mixed systems like Exalted. Know what they all have in common? Social rules are shit, they drag the game unnaturally and sometimes bring it to an abrupt halt. To convince me otherwise you will need more than just word, I'd need to play a social context and have fun with it, in one of those systems. I frankly don't see it happening. i mean I've had session limited to roleplay and social interaction, but those are usually in-group banter, interrogations or (rarely) plot exposition or some form of important dialogue with one or more NPCs, never felt the need to inject moar rules into that.
    If you have fun with such systems, hey be my guest! Do not default to "ah you're clearly ignorant about this topic" when I explicitly said I tried and never understood the appeal, except for the ease-of-use and low amount of preparation needed. I admit I don't know about Monsterheart, I will look into it. I cannot fathom which kind of revolutionary dice rolls they implemented to make "debates" fun. In case I'm pleasantly surprised I will make sure to post more about it.


    In any case you clearly never tried CoC, Pulp Cthulhu or similar, at least not in-depth. You shouldn't dismiss it so easily. It works, it's fun. It's completely different from what you describe ITT, that's the only point I wish to make. You do need a good Keeper for that though, and it's far easier to gather 4 blokes for a random boardgame or a "GMless" session than it is to find one to manage your game.
     
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  24. Silva Arcane

    Silva
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    Matalarata , I've played a bunch of games focused on the social aspect recently, and they all ran fine. I agree it used to be an area that was badly implemented in older games, but from a decade or so now things got much better. I think Burning Wheel and Smallville were the "click". I'm coming from a Monsterhearts game, and an Undying one before that, and both rocked. I've played Cortex games and they rock too. The social mechanics in those are as light and unobtrusive as a skill roll, so very far from complex subsystems analogue to combats, and never touch on the kind of "mind control" that older games used to.

    I'm coming from a Cthulhu Dark game, so I've played this kind of game. But yeah, I'll try a couple more, with open-mind, and see what happens. ;)
     
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  25. Glop_dweller Cipher

    Glop_dweller
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    Kids think this about Brussels Sprouts too.

    Not sure that I have ever seen any of those, but I generally consider cutscenes as milestones to be reached in a game, and am delighted when I do.
     
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